Management practices associated with owner-reported stable-related and handling behaviour problems in UK leisure horses

Management practices associated with owner-reported stable-related and handling behaviour problems in UK leisure horses

Applied Animal Behaviour Science 155 (2014) 49–55 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Applied Animal Behaviour Science journal homepage: www.e...

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Applied Animal Behaviour Science 155 (2014) 49–55

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Applied Animal Behaviour Science journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/applanim

Management practices associated with owner-reported stable-related and handling behaviour problems in UK leisure horses Jo Hockenhull a,b,∗ , Emma Creighton a,c a b c

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester CH1 4BJ, UK School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history: Accepted 28 February 2014 Available online 12 March 2014

Keywords: Horse Behaviour problem Stereotypic behaviour Stable Management Husbandry

a b s t r a c t Stable-related and handling behaviour problems are highly prevalent in UK leisure horses. Associations between routine management practices and behaviour problems have been identified in racehorses and performance horses but it is unknown whether these practices are also associated with behaviour problems in leisure horses. The objective of this study was to identify management risk factors associated with the performance of stable-related and handling behaviour problems in UK leisure horses. An Internet survey was used to collect horse-level data from a convenience sample of UK leisure horse owners. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to explore associations between the occurrence of behaviour in five components of related stable and handling behaviour problems and routine management practices. Behaviour data were generated for 1226 individual horses. Logistic regression analyses were used to explore associations between the occurrence of behaviour in five components and management practices. Associated risk factors varied between five behaviour problem components. Three of the five multivariate models failed the goodness-of-fit tests suggesting that risk factors for these problems predominantly lie outside the horse’s management regime. Where risk factors were identified they were similar to those associated with stereotypic behaviour in performance horses. The similarities between risk factors associated with stable-related and handling behaviour problems in leisure horses and those associated with stereotypic behaviour in performance horses indicate that the findings of performance horse studies are highly relevant to leisure horses, despite the perceived differences between these populations. © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Horses exhibit a range of behaviours, not all of which are desirable to the humans that interact with them. Here

∗ Corresponding author at: School of Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU, UK. Tel.: +44 1173 319309/+44 7887 741194. E-mail address: [email protected] (J. Hockenhull). http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2014.02.014 0168-1591/© 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

we focus on behaviour that is deemed undesirable to horse owners, identified as behaviours that are commonly featured in the help pages of popular equestrian publications. Unwanted behaviour can take many forms: it may be normal equine behaviour that the person cannot cope with or is destructive to the horse’s environment e.g. woodchewing, learned behaviours that have been inadvertently rewarded and consequently ‘trained’ by the person e.g. kicking the door prior to feeding, behaviours indicative of an underlying issue such as pain e.g. aggression, or

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stereotypic behaviours such as weaving or crib-biting. While they are likely to differ in their aetiology, all might be perceived as equine behaviour problems by horse owners. While their performance may or may not reflect a problem for the horse involved, how the person attempts to address or resolve the behaviour may create problems of its own (McBride and Long, 2001). Behaviour problems in horses are more likely to develop in response to an accumulation of environmental inadequacies than from a solitary factor (Kiley-Worthington, 1987). Research to date has focused on the impact of stabling horses, where confinement and social isolation are likely to affect behaviour and welfare in a number of ways (Harewood and McGowen, 2005), though unravelling their respective effects can prove challenging. Both social isolation and confinement have been implicated in the development of stereotypies and behavioural changes, e.g emotional reactivity and vigilance (Hausberger et al., 2008; Visser et al., 2008), and confinement has been associated with the development of gastric ulcers (Murray and Eichorn, 1996). Experimental evidence suggests that social isolation may be the greater stressor of the two. Visser et al. (2008) found that two-thirds of naïve horses stabled individually developed stereotypies whilst none of the pair stabled controls did, implying that the social restriction of the individual stable environment was more aversive than the stable itself. The physical features of the stable environment may also impact on the horse’s behaviour. The orientation of the stable in relation to those of other horses (Ninomiya et al., 2007), the provision of additional windows and grills to increase the opportunity for environmental monitoring or social contact (Cooper et al., 2000; Ninomiya et al., 2008) and the bedding substrate provided (Mills et al., 2000) have all been shown to effect the behaviour of stabled horses, for example increased activity directed at bedding is seen in horses housed on straw beds. Turning horses out to pasture (hereafter called turnout|) to avoid the problems associated with stabling is not without its own problems. Turn-out group composition rarely mirrors that found in natural groups of feral horses, as humans determine the number, age and sex composition (Keiper, 1986; Jørgensen et al., 2009). Turn-out groups may also be regularly altered to adjust for the routines of owners, the changing dietary needs of the horse and the availability of space. Such social instability is known to have negative implications for the horses’ health and immune functioning (Alexander and Irvine, 1998). Stereotypic behaviours are typically observed in captive rather than wild animals, consequently they are considered abnormal behaviours and their association with sub-optimal environments has resulted in their use as welfare indicators, despite the limitations of this approach, e.g. the behavioural emancipation of the stereotypy from the original eliciting stimuli (Mason, 1991). Common equine stereotypies include crib-biting (seizing fixed objects with the incisor teeth and pulling back while making a grunting noise that signifies the passage of air into the oesophagus), wind-sucking (as for crib-biting without seizing onto an object) and weaving (lateral swaying of the head and/or the rest of the body, usually in the face of some kind of

barrier) (McGreevy, 2004). Much of equine welfare research to date has focused upon risk factors for stereotypic behaviour as a behavioural indicator of poor welfare in performance horses (McGreevy et al., 1995a,b; Redbo et al., 1998). However, the bulk of the UK horse population is made up of leisure horses that are likely to be less intensively managed than performance horses and may have other routine management factors that present more of a welfare challenge. Stable-related problems, including stereotypies, and handling behaviour problems, such as biting or kicking when being groomed or tacked-up, are highly prevalent in the UK leisure horse population, being report for 74% and 63% of the horses sampled, respectively, indicating a significant welfare concern. The objective of the study reported here was to identify routine management practice risk factors associated with these problems to ascertain whether these are similar to those previously identified for performance horses. 2. Materials and methods An Internet survey was used to collect horse-level data on stable-related and handling behaviour problems and the horse’s management routine, from a convenience sample of UK leisure horse carers. The survey was part of a larger study exploring the husbandry and welfare of leisure horses using a series of three Internet surveys (Hockenhull, 2010). The survey consisted of 18 predominantly closed questions requesting information about the horse’s stabling and turn-out routine and the frequency that the horse displayed 20 stable-related and handling behaviour problems (see Supplementary information). The questions on management routine were largely derived from the scientific literature exploring the risk factors for poor welfare in performance horses and the effects of stable design on behaviour. The 20 problem behaviours were selected from topics identified from online discussion forums and equestrian magazines as being problematic for owners. The individual behaviour problems were not defined in the survey and were presented in two matrix formats as behaviours for the respondent to rate for frequency of occurrence rather than as behaviour problems per se. The frequency rating scale ran from 1 to 5 and was anchored only at the endpoints (1 = never, 5 = often). Pilot testing had revealed that respondents were more likely to report their horse’s behaviour problems if they could rate its frequency rather than commit to a binary present/absent answer. Consequently the survey was structured in this way to reduce response bias and nonresponse, and the data coded post hoc into absent (rated 1) and present (rated 2–5).The surveys were online for 12 months (2006–2007) to account for seasonal variation in management practices. Principal components analysis (PCA) was used to identify groups of related behaviour problems from the 20 in the survey (Hockenhull and Creighton, 2012b). Five components were extracted, together accounting for 52.4% of variance in the data. The behaviours forming each component loaded >0.4 and none crossed-loaded between components. The components were labelled according to their composite behaviours, as described below. The

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percentage of horses displaying one or more behaviours (i.e. scored ≥2 on the 1–5 rating scale) for each component is also indicated. (1) Handling issues (57% 684/1210): Pull faces/fidget when groomed, try to bite/kick when groomed, pull faces/fidget when rugged, try to bite/kick when rugged, pull faces/fidget when tacked up, try to bite/kick when tacked up. (2) Frustration behaviour (52% 629/1215): Eat bedding, aggression towards horses, chew/tear rugs, bite/kick its own body. (3) Abnormal oral or ingestive behaviour (48% 585/1215): Drink water excessively, chew wood, crib-bite/windsuck, lick objects repetitively. (4) Aggression towards people (33% 403/1223): Aggression to people, pull faces when people pass/approach stable, turn away when people enter stable, try bite/kick people entering stable. (5) Locomotor stereotypies (22% 267/1213): Weave, boxwalk/pace/circle. Each horse received a score denoting whether they displayed behaviour included on each component or not. This meant that every horse had five binary yes/no scores in total, and every horse was included in the analysis for each component either as a 1 = behaviour present or 0 = behaviour absent. 2.1. Statistical analyses Data were filtered to include only horses that spent at least some of their day stabled to prevent redundancies in the data affecting the outcome of the models. All statistical analyses were conducted in SPSS version 14 for Windows (SPSS Inc, USA). Associations between the five stable-related and handling behaviour problem components (dependent variables) and the management routine risk factors (independent variables) were explored using univariate logistic regression analyses to determine which variables would be entered in to multivariate binary logistic regression models (Dohoo et al., 2003) (generating five groups of independent variables). Independent variables associated with a behaviour problem component at P < 0.25 (Hosmer and Lemeshow, 2000) were tested for multicollinearity and rejected where Spearman’s Correlation matrices were r ≥ 0.4 or collinearity diagnostics showed tolerance values ≤0.1 and variance inflation factor values ≥10 (Field, 2005; Pallant, 2007). Where covariance was found, variables relating to the horse’s stabling routine were preferentially retained. The selected independent variables were entered into multivariate logistic regression models for each behaviour problem component using the forced entry method and goodness-of-fit was assessed using the Omnibus Test of Model Coefficients (P ≤ 0.05) and the Hosmer and Lemeshow Test (P ≥ 0.05). Independent variables that contribute significantly to the model have P values ≤0.05. The findings are presented as odds ratios (OR (95% CI)) for each independent variable.

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3. Results The survey generated data for 1850 individual horses with a mean age of 11.4 (±5.5) years. Forty percent of the sample were mares, 59% were geldings and 1% were stallions. Thoroughbred or Thoroughbred crosses made up 25% of the sample, while 8% were Warmblood or Warmblood crosses and 6% were Arabs or Arab crosses (Hockenhull and Creighton, 2013). Due to a faulty software upgrade, responses to the behaviour matrix questions were not recorded for a threemonth period between March and June 2007, resulting in usable behaviour data for 1226 individual horses. Item nonresponse by survey respondents has led to variation in the sample sizes for the logistic regression models as only horses with full datasets for all variables in the model were included in the sample. 3.1. Handling issues In the univariate analyses, three management routine risk factors were significantly associated with handling issues behaviour problems. Spending 13–16 h stabled per 24 h period was associated with an increased risk of having handling issues compared with spending 1–4 h stabled per day (OR 1.873 (1.190–2.948); P = 0.007), as was being turned-out with a stable group of seven or more horses compared with not being turned out (OR 2.406 (1.070–5.412); P = 0.034). An increased likelihood of handling issues was also associated with spending 17–20 h on turn-out over not being turned out (OR 2.834 (1.159–6.930); P = 0.022), however due to multicollinearity problems this variable was not eligible for the multivariate model. The horse residing at its current home for five years or more was associated with a reduction in the likelihood of handling issues occurring over those residing for ≤3–9 months(OR 0.662 (0.438–1.001); P = 0.050). The multivariate model was run on data from 759 horses. However, goodness-of-fit tests indicated that it did not perform significantly better than the constant only model and the analysis was ended at this point. 3.2. Frustration behaviour problems The univariate analyses identified six significant associations between management routine risk factors and the occurrence of frustration behaviour problems. Compared to horses that could not see or touch other horses from their stable, an increased likelihood of frustration behaviour problems was associated with the horse being able to see but not touch other horses from the stable (OR 2.315 (1.001–5.197); P = 0.042) as well as being able to see and touch other horses from the stable (OR 2.429 (1.078–5.470); P = 0.032). Turn-out into a changeable group of seven or more horses was associated with an increased likelihood of problems over those that were not turned out (OR 3.414 (1.437–8.109); P = 0.005). Compared to horses bedded on straw, a reduced likelihood of problems was associated with being bedded on shavings (OR 0.330 (0.227–0.481); P < 0.001), rubber mats and shaving

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Table 1 Significant management routine risk factors for the performance of frustration behaviour identified using a forced entry multivariate logistic regression model (N = 833). Management variable Opportunity to see out of stable, other than over stable door No (Ref) Yes Type of bedding in stable Straw (Ref) Shavings Rubber mats & shavings Other Overall turn-out group structure Horse not turned-out (Ref) 7+ Horses in changeable group

Odds ratio

95%CI

P value

1 0.680

– 0.486–0.952

– 0.025

1 0.328 0.316 0.321

– 0.221–4.86 0.212–0.470 0.184–0.561

– 0.000 0.000 0.000

1 4.672

– 1.459–14.958

– 0.010

Ref = Reference category; 95% CI = 95% confidence interval. The model classified 63.3% of cases correctly.

(OR 0.322 (0.220–0.471); P < 0.001) and bed types falling in to the category other (OR 0.325 (0.190–0.553); P < 0.001). Five management routine risk factors were significantly associated with the occurrence of frustration behaviour in the multivariate model (Table 1). A reduced likelihood of frustration behaviour was associated with the horse having the opportunity to see out of the stable other than over the stable door and if shavings, rubber mats and shavings or other bedding types were used rather than straw. There was an increased risk of frustration behaviour associated with the horse being turned-out with seven or more horses in groups where individual group members may change.

3.3. Aggression towards people In the univariate analyses, three management routine risk factors were significantly associated with the occurrence of aggressive behaviour towards people. An increased likelihood of these problems was associated with being stabled 13–16 h per day over horses stabled 1–4 h (OR 1.785 (1.109–2.872); P = 0.017), with the horse residing at its current home for 2–2.75 years compared with those residing for ≤3–9 months (OR 1.817 (1.121–2.945); P = 0.015) and if the horse was stabled in a loosebox in a barn compared to those stabled in a loosebox on a yard (OR 1.343 (0.999–1.805); P = 0.050). The multivariate model identified three significant management risk factors associated with the occurrence of aggression towards people (Table 2).

An increased risk of aggressive behaviour was associated with the horse spending 2 h/day with people, if the horse was stabled for 13–16 h/day and if it had lived at its current home for 2–2.75 years. 3.4. Abnormal oral or ingestive behaviour The univariate logistic regression analyses identified three management routine risk factors significantly associated with abnormal oral or ingestive behaviour. Horses stabled for 21–24 h per 24 h period were associated with an increased risk of exhibiting these problems (OR 2.379 (1.162–4.871); P = 0.018) than those stabled for 1–4 h, while turned-out for 21–24 h was associated with a reduced likelihood of exhibiting abnormal oral or ingestive behaviour compared with those that were not turned out OR 0.452 (0.207–0.988); P = 0.047). Being stabled in a loosebox in a barn compared with those stabled in a loosebox on a yard was associated with a reduced risk of these problems (OR 0.735 (0.551–0.981); P = 0.037), as was being turned-out in a stable group of seven or more horses compared with not being turned out (OR 0.427 (0.191–0.954); P = 0.038). The multivariate logistic regression model was run on data from 767 horses but did not meet the necessary assumptions of the goodness-of-fit tests and the analysis was terminated. 3.5. Locomotor stereotypies Although seven management risk factors met the P < 0.25 criteria for inclusion in the multivariate model,

Table 2 Significant management routine risk factors for aggression towards people identified using a forced entry multivariate logistic regression model (N = 768). Management variable Time spent with horse/day 30 min (Ref) 2h Time spent stabled/day 1–4 h (Ref) 13–16 h Time at current home ≤0.25–0.75 years (Ref) 2–2.75 years

Odds ratio

95%CI

P value

1 3.363

– 1.008–11.220

– 0.049

1 1.752

– 1.050–2.922

– 0.032

1 1.813

– 1.079–3.049

– 0.025

Ref = Reference category; 95% CI = 95% confidence interval. The model classified 67.2% of cases correctly.

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none of these were statistically significantly associated with locomotor stereotypies in the univariate analyses. The one significant association was with the variable turn-out group stability, specifically the category N/A indicating that there were no other horses present—was associated with a reduced risk of these problems compared with not being turned out (OR 0.295 (0.108–0.804); P = 0.017). However, as this variable was also represented by the turn-out group summary variable it was not eligible for inclusion in the multivariate model. The multivariate logistic regression was conducted on data from 760 horses. It failed to meet the assumptions of goodness-of-fit tests and the analysis was terminated here. 4. Discussion This study explored associations between routine practices used for managing UK leisure horses and the occurrence of stable-related and handling behaviour problems. Different patterns of management routine risk factors were associated with each of the five behaviour problem components, and so the risk factors identified will be discussed in relation to the emerging themes of stabling, turn-out and background factors. It needs to be kept in mind that cross-sectional survey studies such as this cannot identify casual relationships. Instead, the findings are valuable in highlighting key areas that require empirical investigation in future studies, although some speculative hypotheses regarding the underlying associations have been suggested. The associations identified between behaviour and management routines in this study are unlikely to be clear-cut. Management practices may have been altered in response to the horse’s behaviour rather than being the cause e.g. the management changes implemented in response to stereotypic behaviour on racing and competition yards and riding schools described by McBride and Long (2001). Individual differences in age, sex, breed, previous experience, and coping style will also influence the relationships seen, and while these are not considered in detail in this survey-based study, they should form a critical component of future experimental or observational studies. Consideration should also be given to the reliance on owner self-report for data collection. Although every effort was taken with the survey design and administration to minimise socially desirable reporting and the impact of recall bias, and the behaviour rating scales were reduced into binary responses for analysis to limit the effects of individual interpretation, these are still potential limitations of the study. 4.1. Stabling In comparison to horses stabled for only 1–4 h per day, spending 13–16 h stabled was associated with both aggressive behaviour and handling issues, and spending 21–24 h stabled was associated with abnormal oral or ingestive behaviour. This is in agreement with earlier work by McGreevy et al. (1995b) who found time spent stabled was correlated with increased risk of abnormal behaviour

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in dressage and eventing horses. These findings support the assertions commonly found in the literature that stabling is a welfare challenge for horses (for example see Kiley-Worthington, 1987; Henderson, 2007). However, as mentioned previously, stables pose numerous challenges in the form of social restriction, confinement and the environment of the stable itself and these are explored below. Being stabled in a loosebox (i.e. a stable designed for an individual horse) in a barn, rather than on an open yard, was associated with a reduced risk of abnormal oral or ingestive behaviour. This may be related to Henderson and Waran’s (2001) finding of increased stereotypic behaviour associated with heightened arousal from the presence of other horses near the stable and increased yard activity, suggesting that some horses may be unable to cope with heightened activity levels seen in yards designed around a central activity point. However, we also found that being stabled in a loosebox in a barn was associated with an increased the risk of aggressive behaviour, suggesting that different stable types may give rise to different problems. That horses have a high motivation for social contact has been demonstrated experimentally (Søndergaard et al., 2011), however, when this need is compromised by the confines of a stable the results are not clear-cut. Being able to see other horses from the stable but not touch them and being able to see and touch other horses from the stable were both associated with a more than two-fold increased risk of frustration behaviour compared to horses unable to either see or touch other horses. This suggests that horses may find it more frustrating to be able to see and/or touch other horses but not fully interact with them due to the confines of the stable, as proposed by previous studies (McGreevy et al., 1995a; Redbo et al., 1998). Even if touching another horse is possible, individual stables do not typically allow the full body contact that seems preferable to horses and enables them to both mutually groom and establish a proper social relationship (Christensen et al., 2002). As such, allowing limited social contact from the stable might do more harm than good, especially if the horse’s motivation for social interaction is provoked by the presence of other horses within its visual or physical range, yet full interaction is physically thwarted by the stable itself. Group housing would be a practical solution to this conundrum. However, only 2% of the horses sampled in this survey were group housed meaning we were unable to explore the effects of housing horses in this manner in our study. Allowing the horse the opportunity to see outside the stable via an opening other than the stable door was associated with reduced risk of frustration behaviour. This is in-keeping with previous studies that have reported a reduction in weaving and frustration behaviour after increasing the visual opportunities available for stabled horses (Cooper et al., 2000; Ninomiya et al., 2008). Bedding horses on shavings (with or without additional rubber matting) or on other bedding was associated with a reduced likelihood of frustration-related problems when compared to using straw bedding. This is likely to be a consequence of bed-eating being one of the behaviour problems loaded on this component. Bed-eating is more common in horses bedded on straw than on other bedding

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types (Mills et al., 2000) and shavings are an often used alternative to straw for bedding down the stables of horses known to eat their beds when this behaviour is considered undesirable (Auty, 1998). Given the presence of bed-eating on this component, these data cannot be used to determine whether the reduced risk of frustration behaviour associated with shavings or other bedding types is a true result or an artefact of the data. In conclusion, we found being stabled was a risk factor for behaviour problems that may indicate poor welfare, with stable design in relation to loosebox layout, social contact and visual horizons indicated as specific risk factors. These findings are in agreement with other published studies looking at the welfare impact of similar stable features, and it is clear that stabling in horses is a significant welfare challenge. Systematic use of standardised experiments are needed to develop stable designs that best provide for the welfare needs of horses, although these may differ between individual horses, and the convenience of their carers so that where horses need to be stabled their full biological needs are met.

spend time on vigilance behaviour or re-establishing social relationships (Keiper, 1986; Knubben et al., 2008). Turn-out with no other horses present was associated with a reduced risk of locomotor stereotypies when stabled, compared with not being turned-out at all. While locomotor stereotypies are seen in response to short-term social isolation when a horse is left alone in the field or stable (McGreevy, 2004; Zeitler-Feicht, 2004), horses that are regularly turned-out (and stabled) alone may not have any socially bonded conspecifics to anticipate the arrival of and may therefore not have the heightened emotional state that leads to these behaviours being expressed. In conclusion, we found different patterns of risk factors related to turn-out associated with the behaviour problems investigated. Further experimental research is needed to explore how adult horses maintain habituation to the stable environment so that they can be kept within their capacity to readily adapt when they need to be stabled for longer periods of time. We did not find any turn-out related risk factors associated with aggressive behaviour when stabled. 4.3. Background factors

4.2. Turn-out There was an increased likelihood of frustration behaviour associated with turn-out into changeable groups of seven or more horses compared with those that were not turned-out. Social instability is a known source of stress to horses (Alexander and Irvine, 1998) and frequent mixing of horse groups has been associated with heightened levels of aggression (Goodwin, 1999), possibly as social hierarchies need to be re-established following the inclusion or removal of a horse from the social group (Keiper, 1986; Knubben et al., 2008). It is possible that social stress arising from inconsistent social groupings may lead to the expression of frustration behaviour whilst stabled. Handling related problems when stabled were associated with horses turned-out for 17–20 h per day, and those turned-out with a stable group of seven or more horses compared to those compared to those not turnedout. Horses that are turned-out for 17–20 h a day are likely to be brought in only to be ridden, checked over or fed, and as such have less time to habituate to the restrictions of the stable environment. Similarly, horses who have a stable turn-out group of a size corresponding of their ethological tendency (i.e. typically small family groups (Tyler, 1972)) may find removal to the social isolation of the stable similarly challenging and this may be reflected by increased agitation behaviours during routine handling procedures. Spending 21–24 h per day on turn-out and being turnedout with seven or more horses in a stable social group were both associated with a reduction in risk of abnormal oral or ingestive behaviour over their comparators when the horse was stabled. Horses that spend the majority of their time turned-out have the opportunity to fulfil their forage requirement through grazing, and may therefore have fewer problems associated with restricted forage (Davidson and Harris, 2002). Furthermore, the presence of other horses in a stable social group may enhance foraging by allowing the horse more time to graze, rather than

A reduced risk of handling issues was associated with the horse having resided at its current home for five years or more compared with 3–9 months. This may reflect better welfare in horses that have had a longer time to develop a relationship with their carer and have come to better understand their boundaries and daily routines, leading to less stress from unpredictability (Bassett and BuchananSmith, 2007). A better developed relationship between horse and carer may also increase the effectiveness of communication between them, with the carer adapting their handling procedure to suit the horse and being able to identify and respond to less overt signs of discomfort than those measured here. Aggression towards people was associated with the time the respondent spent with the horse per day and the length of time the horse had lived at its current home, both of which may relate to the quality of the relationship the horse has with its carer. This area was not included in the remit of the survey due to the complexity in quantifying such a relationship and the emphasis given to more quantifiable features of the horse’s daily routine. However, it is likely that the relationship a horse has with its primary caregiver has a large bearing on how it behaves both inside and outside the stable and as such is an important subject to consider in any future studies (Chamove et al., 2002). The failure of three of the five multivariate analyses to meet their statistical assumptions indicates the specific independent variables (routine management practices measured) fed into the models did not account for sufficient variance in the dependent (behaviour problems) variables to be statistically significant, and that there were other unmeasured risks for the behaviour. Our survey design artificially divided the horse’s world in to discrete areas and some risk factors were clearly overlooked. What emerges from the analyses reported here and in our other papers (Hockenhull and Creighton, 2012a,b) is that the aetiology of behaviour problems in domestic horses is likely to be

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complex and multifactorial in nature, and that all aspects of the horse’s individual makeup, environment and experience need to be considered when trying to recognise the causes of problem behaviour. Furthermore the risk factors identified in this study of leisure horses, spanning the range of ages, breeds and uses, were similar to those previously identified for performance horses and breeds, and their findings should not be dismissed as irrelevant for leisure horses who are widely perceived to be managed under less intensive conditions. 5. Conclusion Our finding that different groups of behaviour problems have different associated risk factors within the day-to-day management of UK leisure horses illustrates the complexity and multifactorial nature of these problems. Research conducted on risk factors associated with stereotypic and other abnormal behaviour in performance horses is highly comparable with the findings of this study, demonstrating that this research is also highly relevant to the leisure horse population, rather than reflecting issues faced by performance horses alone. Acknowledgements Jo Hockenhull received financial support from Bransby Home of Rest for Horses, the University of Chester and Funds for Women Graduates. The authors would like to thank Duncan Brown at the University of Liverpool for computer support and all survey respondents who gave their time to report in detail on their horse’s behaviour and management. Appendix A. Supplementary data Supplementary material related to this article can be found, in the online version, at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/ j.applanim.2014.02.014. References Alexander, S.L., Irvine, C.H.G., 1998. The effect of social stress on adrenal axis activity in horses: the importance of monitoring corticosteroid-binding globulin capacity. J. Endocrinol. 157, 425– 432. Auty, I., 1998. The British Horse Society Complete Manual of Stable Management. Kenilworth Press, Addington. Bassett, L., Buchanan-Smith, H., 2007. Effects of predictability on the welfare of captive animals. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 102, 223–245. Chamove, A.S., Crawley-Hartrick, O.J.E., Stafford, K.J., 2002. Horse reactions to human attitudes and behaviour. Anthrozoos 15, 323–331. Christensen, J.W., Ladewig, J., Søndergaard, E., Malmkvist, J., 2002. Effects of individual versus group stabling on social behaviour in domestic stallions. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 75, 233–248. Cooper, J.J., McDonald, L., Mills, D.S., 2000. The effect of increasing visual horizons on stereotypic weaving: implications for the social housing of stabled horses. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 69, 67–83. Davidson, N., Harris, P., 2002. Nutrition and welfare. In: Waran, N. (Ed.), The Welfare of Horses. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp. 45–76. Field, A., 2005. Discovering Statistics using SPSS, 2nd edn. Sage Publications Ltd, London. Dohoo, I.R., Martin, W., Stryhn, H., 2003. Veterinary Epidemiologic Research. AVC Inc., PE, Canada.

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